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Chief aim must be securing a meaningful devolution deal – Combined Authority responds to NAO report

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has welcomed the National Audit Office (NAO) recommendations that combined authorities deliver value and that the Government should continue to support them

Combined Authority Chair Cllr Peter Box said: “For us this continued support should mean ongoing Government commitment to a range of measures including further devolution of powers and funding that will enable us to continue delivering inclusive economic growth that benefits everyone in the City Region, and reform to ensure the most efficient and effective locally delivered public services.

“While the NAO has identified a number of risks, we see its recommendations as a confirmation that combined authorities based on functional economic areas or City Regions are the right level for implementing strategic economic and transport initiatives.

Twice the impact  

“Within the Leeds City Region, we have demonstrated through our devolved skills, employment and business growth programmes, we can deliver at twice the impact and three times the speed of equivalent national programmes overseen by officials 200 mile away in Whitehall.

“We have already embarked upon an ambitious programme of investment, which just last week saw £180m of investment in West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund schemes in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield approved. All of these schemes have been designed to support economic growth and the generation of new jobs.

“Looking ahead, our chief aim must be to securing a meaningful devolution deal with Government.

“Only the transfer of significant powers and budgets away from Whitehall will put the levers of economic growth back into the hands of our local people and places, where it belongs and where it needs to be as details of the country’s departures form the EU emerge.”
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